As my junior year is slowly coming to a close, it is time to start thinking about my summer plans. Seeing as though I studied abroad last summer, and I was in the process of transferring the summer before, I never gained the work experience or internship experience needed to benefit my future. Therefore, this year my free time has consisted of fun and games, yes, but also a lot of work researching, applying, and interviewing for several internship positions. The thing with applying for internships is that the work is never done. This is an ongoing process that I am still currently trying to figure out, learn and understand, but so far it has been an amazing experience. Specifically, I have applied to and have been interviewing for a company of my dreams. As a mechanical engineer, ideally I would like to go into the automotive industry. This company that I have been interviewing for is manufacturing, designing, and producing cars of the future, and I am extremely luckily to have gotten this far in the process. I have learned a few things throughout the year in which I would like to share.
First off, when applying for internships, apply to as many as possible. Yes, there may be one or two positions or companies in which you would really like to work for, but in the long run of things, experience is experience no matter how big or small. So apply to companies, large and big, private and public, the more the better.
The first application is the hardest. This comes with the territory of inputting all of your basic info, background, experience…etc. But once you get the first one done, the rest of them come naturally seeing as though they all basically ask for the same thing.
Having a solid resume makes life 100x less stressful. With a solid, updated resume, the tedious work of inputting all that information on the application can easily be avoided. Try to perfect your resume by getting it in front of as many eyes as you can. This means have your parents, professors, current employers, or even someone in the deans office of your specific college look at it seeing as though they may know what to add or change based off of your major. Most applications have an “upload resume” option that pulls all of that info into the correct spots, which is great.
That “optional” cover letter within the application is actually highly encouraged. Take the time to write out why you want the position, what your skills are, and what you can bring to the company. This will show them that you are going that one little extra step that some applicants will not do.
Start early and start soon. Applications can be released as soon as September and may only be available for a short period of time. So do as much research as possible and keep checking periodically to see if the application has been posted on the web.
If you are lucky enough to receive an interview, no matter the position, be positive and be confident. No matter if it is an interview in person, or over the phone, do some background research on the company and/or the position as a whole. This shows the interviewer that you have come prepared and are enthusiastic about what they do, their products, and the position.
Be persistent with the person who you are in contact with, in the company. Sometimes no news is the best news. Send periodic emails that are clear and concise. This shows the company that you really are interested in them, and this will also allow the contact person to remember you.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give right now/thing I have learned through this process is, sometimes it really is all about who you know. Personal contacts can put you in the right direction as far as the application process goes or they can even put you in front of the right person. Use your connections as much as possible. For the most part I have learned, if you have a good relationship with someone, ask for help because they want to see you succeed.
I have not completely solidified an internship position for the summer yet, but the way things have been going I am extremely close to doing so. I have finished my interviews with the company I am keen on, and it is really now just a waiting game on their final decision. It has been an all around amazing experience applying to multiple companies, but the work will never stop until one of them offers me a position. Wish me luck.